When you look in the mirror and see those visible dark dots on your nose or cheeks that you call large pores, what you're really seeing are hair follicles. Whatever they're called, they're a beauty nuisance. Genetics, not a skin care regimen, determines their size. If you're lucky, yours are practically invisible; if you're not so lucky, you might feel they're the size of manhole covers. Sebaceous filaments -- the waxy tubes that fill larger follicles on your nose, cheeks or chin -- can make these pores even more apparent.
Pore-minimizing scrubs, masks and makeup will temporarily give pothole-like pores a more refined appearance. You could try one of the many products on the market to refine your pores, but some homemade mixes work just as well.
Remember the white glue you used to stick glitter to your construction-paper rainbows? Now that you're grown up, white glue can temporarily refine your pores by pulling blackheads and darkened sebaceous filaments out of the follicles mechanically. Smooth the glue onto areas of your skin that have visible pores and let it dry to a clear film. You'll feel the film tighten on your skin as it dries. Once it's clear, peel the glue from your skin; it should take the material from your follicles with it as you pull it free of your skin. It's like a homemade version of a pore strip.
Try this one out on the back of your hand to make sure the glue doesn't irritate your skin. It's non-toxic, but if you experience any itching or irritation, wash it off with warm water instead of waiting for it to dry.
Steaming and Warm Cloths
You know what happens when you put a pat of butter in a hot pan; it melts into its liquid form. The sebum in your skin is just a different kind of oil, and it also becomes more fluid when it's warm. Steam your pores clean occasionally to keep them less noticeable. A bowl of hot water and a towel are all you need to steam your skin, but if you want to get fancy, add a drop or two of scent to the water. Spend a few minutes with your face over the bowl and drape the towel over your head to hold the steam inside. The softened sebum will flow from your pores. Finish your steam treatment with your usual cleansing regimen and you should notice fewer dots on your nose.
Heated towels and washcloths give you the same effect, but they cool quickly. Line up a few hot, damp cloths to place on your face and swap them out as they turn cool.
Shed skin cells collect inside your follicles and contribute to clogging, potentially leaving you with blackheads. Regular exfoliation can help keep your skin free of these loose cells and refine your pores over time. Exfoliating scrubs incorporate small gritty particles that remove loose skin cells when you wash with them. Almond meal, salt and baking soda have grainy textures that flake off dead skin cells before they can slip into your pores. Mix these gritty ingredients with water, your favorite lotion or a light oil such as jojoba or grapeseed to make a home version of a scrub.
Don't over-scrub when you cleanse; use just your fingertips and move the scrub in gentle circular motions. Harsh scrubbing will leave your skin irritated and could even cause damage.
Astringents and Toners
Mildly acidic ingredients such as grapefruit or lemon juice cause your skin to tighten, reducing the appearance of large follicles. Fruit acids have a similar, but less powerful, effect as commercial alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs. The citric acid in citrus juices also lighten the oxidized sebum that makes blackheads and sebaceous filaments more obvious. A mixture of vinegar and water can also have an astringent effect on your skin, tightening it temporarily and reducing pore visibility. Hydrogen peroxide is non-acidic and bleaches oxidized sebum over time, so it makes an excellent toner for more sensitive skin.
Apply the homemade toner with a cotton ball or cloth, leave it on your skin for a minute or two, then rinse well with water. Because acidic ingredients, including those from natural sources, can irritate your face, use these homemade toners with caution and stop if your skin becomes itchy or irritated.
You might already have a favorite powder, but in a pinch, the cornstarch in your kitchen will make your pores pull a disappearing act. While powders won't reduce the size of your follicles, they can reduce the appearance of coarse, enlarged pores. Light reflects on shiny surfaces and highlights their edges, including the edges of your follicles. When you powder, you diffuse that light and blur the hard edges, making deep pores look less noticeable. Apply a thin dusting of powder or cornstarch over makeup or instead of it to minimize large pores.
Want to know more about pores or home beauty treatments? Read on for more information: